The tulips stand tall, the farmers markets feel more crowded (with produce and people), the sun shines a little brighter and, oh, your allergies are here: spring is in full swing. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our lightest and brightest dinners of the season, plus some hearty staples, in case it’s still a little chilly where you’re staying. So grab those asparagus, peas, and spinach, and cook with one of these New York Times cooking recipes below.
In this super-simple one-sheet dinner from Yasmin Fahr, soy-mustard brushed salmon and seasonal asparagus grill together in less than 10 minutes for a fresh and flavorful weeknight meal. Think of the generous shower of herbs on top less as a garnish and more as its own salad.
The same way you might purge your dresser of old clothes in May, the refrigerator crisper also needs a spring cleaning. When you get there, keep this highly customizable Kay Chun recipe in mind. She uses spring staples (chard, peas), the dregs of the produce drawer (really, all you have) and that piece of bread just-this-side-stale on the counter for her version of the ribollita, the classic Italian soup.
Recipe: Spring cleaning Ribollita
Tangy, vibrant stalks of rhubarb add flavor and a bit of visual drama to this herb and bean stew from Naz Deravian. Beans replace the more traditional meat, making this a standout vegetarian take on a savory Iranian stew. And no, that’s not a typo in the ingredient list: five large clusters of herbs cook to create the deeply flavorful emerald base.
For those weirdly warm spring days when the thermostat slips towards 80 degrees, Hetty McKinnon fashioned this crispy salad. The tiny bit of cooking required—blanching the asparagus and peas—won’t take more than two minutes, so you can whip up the spiced cilantro yogurt, which adds a luxurious creaminess to every bite.
Here, Melissa Clark has created a vegetarian main course with an overflowing farmer’s market tote bag in mind. Asparagus and peas are sautéed in an aromatic concoction of shallots, garlic and vermouth before being slipped into a bed of fluffy polenta. And if you got a little wild at the produce stand, feel free to add other seasonal veggies to the mix, like snow peas, radishes, or leafy spinach.
Frozen or canned artichoke wedges add a little zest to this quintessentially Roman pasta dish. Anna Francese Gass’ recipe, which comes together in 30 minutes, tasks the vegetables with absorbing the salty taste of the guanciale and spreading those flavors throughout the dish.
Recipe: Artichoke Carbonara
In this 25-minute, seven-ingredient noodle dish from Ali Slagle, the sweetness of barely-cooked asparagus, snow peas, and snow peas perfectly balances the saltiness of the capers. Canned fish — mackerel or sardines, choose your favourite! – round out the dish with flavor and weight.
Recipe: Spring soba with canned fish
Thick, meaty asparagus is no better than pencil-thin asparagus. And there are recipes that will make those skinny stems shine! Look no further than this stir-fry from Kay Chun, in which thin slices of asparagus cook in record time to put dinner on the table in just 20 minutes.
This fresh salad of pulled chicken and sliced snow peas is an ideal picnic food, perfect for hanging out in the park on those glorious 72-degree afternoons. Hana Asbrink mixes it all up in a tangy sesame mayonnaise dressing, which you should wisely double or triple for future lunches and outdoor dining.
In this springtime mezze from Yotam Ottolenghi, lemony garlic yogurt coats white beans before garnishing them with herbed peas, feta and an easy-to-keep homemade dukkah on hand to jazz up other dishes. While this meal can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, it’s especially good on a patio, in the setting sun, with a spritz and toast.
This stovetop braise was created for those who fly over the spinach and artichoke dip at a party. Sarah DiGregorio has turned the appetizer into something more substantial, and while pairing screaming springtime spinach and artichokes, this rich, creamy dish can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to frozen and canned vegetables.